Tips for parents
- > HOW TO CHOOSE A TUTOR
- > DO TUTORS ADD STRESS TO MY CHILD’S LIFE?
- > TUTORING COLLEGE VS ONE-ON-ONE
HOW TO CHOOSE A TUTOR
Step one: Understand what a tutor really is.
Tutors aren’t a simple bucket of information that can be poured magically into your child’s brain. They do need to be smart and know their subject material, but there is much more to tutoring than just subject knowledge.
A great tutor is really like a sports coach.
They don’t just explain how to do things well. That’s maybe 10-20% of their role. A bigger chunk of their role is to motivate your child;
- to genuinely want to learn the subject.
- to believe in themselves that they can improve.
When you try a new tutor ask yourself “Is this tutor going to be a good motivator, goal setter, role model, ie a good coach? If you want a bucket of knowledge, buy the textbook. If you want a great tutor, look for a great coach.
Step two: Connections.
Think beyond subject area and your local suburb as the only criteria for choosing a tutor. Consider if a tutor shares connection points with you child.
Did they go to the same school?
We have a page for every high school, listing past students who currently tutor.
Do they share hobbies?
We ask our tutors to list their hobbies. For example, if your son is into surfing and struggles with maths, it would be awesome to find a maths tutor who also surfs! “No way dude -you love maths and surf?”
Do they share career aspirations?
Your daughter wants to do nursing at uni, and needs chemistry tutoring? What better tutor would there be than a current university nursing student! We ask tutors who are currently studying to list what uni and course they are doing.
Step three: Try different tutors.
It's the only real way to know. Tell the tutor you would like to try one or two lessons to see how well your child and the tutor work together. That way they know up front it's a trial.
Step four: Be clear.
Be clear about meeting times and costs. Even better confirm these details in an email so there isn’t any room for any confusion.
DOES TUTORING ADD STRESS TO MY CHILD’S LIFE?
You hear this type of things said; “Tutoring takes away their childhood and adds stress to their life - I didn’t have a tutor, so I’m not getting one for my kids”.
Hmmm. Sound compelling. True, it can be stressful and true you didn’t have a tutor. So tutoring must be bad. Not so fast - let’s examine these statements in a bit more detail;
The reality is, tutoring can reduce stress.
Working with a tutor may in fact reduce stress and give your child a clear path to getting on top of a challenging subject. Feeling helpless and stupid is much more stressful than some extra homework each week that builds your confidence. So tutoring can reduce stress.
“But I’ve seen other kids stressed about their tutor work…”
This also may be true. But if tutoring can involve some stress, how much and compared to what? Compared to failing a subject or not getting the ATAR you wanted, a little extra work might be much much less stressful for your child than alternatives.
“But I don’t want my kids to be stressed!”
So your aim is to minimise your child’s stress? Really? Let’s run with that for a second. Why not just buy them a hammock and a bucket of ice cream and leave them to enjoy their stress-free lives… Doesn’t sound like such a great objective anymore.
If (and only if) tutoring can involve some stress, then so what? There’s good stress and bad stress.
Bad stress is losing sleep over having pimples.
Good stress is working hard for things like training for a swimming carnival, or learning to drive a car or organising a birthday party.
Good things can come from “good stress”. Work is stressful but it's also the path to achieving things. That’s a great lesson in itself.
“I didn’t get tutoring”
You didn’t go to school in today’s world. But your kids do. In a world where call centers, computer programmers, designers, architects etc can be located anywhere in the world, your child isn’t growing up in the same world you did. The world is vastly more globally interconnected and competitive than it was 20 years ago and the least skilled in every country are the biggest losers. Your kids are competing with smart English speaking kids in Poland, Russia, China, Philippines, Canada, the UK…
You may not like this super-global, super-competitive world, but it is here and the consequences for your child are real. Pretending it's 1990 won’t help them.
PROFESSIONAL TUTOR VS UNI STUDENT?
We have three main types of tutoring methods on the site;
- – Uni students who tutor.
- – Professional, part-time tutors (often current or ex-teachers or professionals who enjoy teaching).
- – Tutoring colleges in your area.
How do you choose between the first two? Most likely, a professional tutor has these advantages;
- They will have much more experience as a tutor.
- They will be a little older and may have to work less hard to have your child’s respect and attention.
A uni student has these advantages;
- They may connect more quickly with your child as they are closer in age, and did the school work in the not too distant past themselves.
- They may be a role model, with the same hobbies and career path you child intends to take.
- They may have gone to the same school as your child and even know some teachers in common (we provide search-by-school on the site).
In the end the best answer is to try some sessions with both and see who your child seems to get the most from. There are fantastic, inspiring tutors on both groups.
TUTORING COLLEGE VS ONE-ON-ONE
Does your child work best in groups or alone? Ask them their preference.
If they have school friends doing after school tutoring college, they might be more motivated to go along as a group. Or… are the friends a distraction?
Top tutoring colleges have the advantage of being able to hire the very best tutors and giving them time to carefully create a professional course plan with periodic measurement. In the end, private tutoring colleges are professionals at what they do.
One-on-one on the other hand delivers a completely tailored solution for your child.
In the end, the best solution is to talk with your child about the pros and cons of each. There’s no harm in trying both.